1987 - Jean-Louis Ferrier (Art critic)

Grataloup, light replete

The island, the tree and the stone hut. The island central and prominent which one reaches at the close of a sea of air voyage ; the tree, ancestral, vertical symbol which soars towards the sky, vision of life in perpetual growth ; the bories, mans'first home, inverse dry-stone, island... it seems to me that around these three archetypes culminate Grataloup's present work.

Borie Archetype 2 - 1986/1987

Archetypes, or forms which appear to evolve from the subconscious, which prevail when understanding the laws of logic, but which function in a more complexed manner, by flights of images, shown by C.G. Jung and in the same strain here, by flights of colour.

There are those artists who will, without restraint, daub, mark, scratch and paste and freely sign. Grataloup is not of these : his works are inspired from afar. From Goethe for whom "colour is the expression and pain of light", from Runge and his sphere of colour, from Shopenhauer, from Novalis... And from their core, some kind of rainbow or psychic aurora borealis of which the red is blood and fire, the green water and lightening, the purple death and sublimation ; in the antipodes of Newton's spectoral analysis which only appeals to the retinal receptor.

The Painter's Eye - 1989

Nevertheless, his painting is not less physical than metaphysical, thereby "alchemique", insomuch as like the alchemist and sage, by constant and repeated handling of matter, he attains a higher spiritual plain. For, in contrast to expressionism which arbitrarily displays tonality, Grataloup is a rigorous colourist directely in line with traditional and modern french painting.

"When I use a green, it doesn't mean grass, when I use a blue, it doesn't mean the sky" wrote Matisse.This can be construed in two ways : -That the modern artist has thereafter earned the right to transgress a given image as so he desires ; and in a more profound sense, that is not essential to see in a work where the sky is blue and the grass green, neither a sky or grass, but areas of colour.

Three Trees - Three Colours - 1989

Thus, of course, on sees Grataloup's work with a difference, which he himself views as a combination of both a visual experience and an intellectual enrichment.

In his islands, his trees and"bories" what appeals to me is the true style of painting. I would like to point out that these archetypes, rather than existing as purely phylosophical or literary, embody a pictorial tangibility which can be seen inany of his canvassess, perhaps above all in those that paraphrase Goethe, and by inversion one can say "light is the expression and joy of colour".

Rainbow Island I - 1988

Grataloup, light replete. Yes, from the eminent isle to the axial tree - the dry stone huts with their shadows mouths is decidely the omega of this exibition.

Text of the exhibition catalogue - Lavignes-Bastille Galery - July 1989

Translated from French into English by Frances Crabbe